Absorbable Versus Nonabsorbable Sutures for Skin Closure: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Ann Plast Surg. 2016 May;76(5):598-606. doi: 10.1097/SAP.0000000000000418.


Background: Prior studies focused on skin closure using absorbable or nonabsorbable sutures involved small samples and produced conflicting results. The optimal method of skin closure still remains unclear.

Objective: This study aimed to compare the outcomes of absorbable versus nonabsorbable sutures for skin closure.

Methods: A meta-analysis was performed in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that compared outcomes of absorbable versus nonabsorbable sutures for skin closure.

Results: A total of 1748 patients in 19 RCTs were analyzed. There was no significant difference between absorbable sutures and nonabsorbable sutures in the incidence of wound infections, cosmetic outcomes, scar formation, wound dehiscence, and patients' or patient caregivers' satisfaction. Better cosmetic results were achieved by using intradermal absorbable sutures compared with nonabsorbable sutures in subgroup analysis, but this result might be affected by insufficient follow-ups.

Conclusions: Absorbable sutures for skin closure were not inferior to nonabsorbable sutures. It should be recommended due to its great cost and time savings. Well-designed RCTs with sufficient follow-ups are needed to adequately clarify whether better cosmetic results can be achieved using intradermal absorbable sutures.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Models, Statistical
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Suture Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Sutures*